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may be aimed at different ends, and arise from quite contrary principles. Actions are of so mixt a nature and so full of circumstances, that as men pry into them more or less, or observe some parts more than others, they take different hints, and put contrary interpretations on them ; so that the same actions may represent a man as hypocritical and designing to one, which make him appear a saint or hero to another. He, therefore, who looks upon the soul through its outward actions, often sees it through a deceitful medium, which is apt to discolour and pervert the object: so that on this account also, he is the only proper judge of our perfections, who does not guess at the sincerity of our intentions from the goodness of our actions, but weighs the goodness of our actions by the sincerity of our intentions.
But farther; it is impossible for outward actions to represent the perfections of the soul, because they can never show the strength of those principles from whence they proceed. They are not adequate expressions of our virtues, and can only show us what habits are in the soul, without discovering the degree and perfection of such habits. They are at best but weak resemblances of our intentions, faint and imperfect copies that may acquaint us with the general design, but can never express the beauty and life of the original. But the great Judge of all the earth knows every different state and degree of human improvement, from those weak stirrings and tendencies of the will which have not yet formed themselves into regular purposes and designs, to the last entire finishing and consummation of a good habit. He beholds the first imperfect rudiments of a virtue in the soul, and keeps a watchful eye over it in all its progress, until it has received every grace it is capable of, and appears in its full beauty and perfection. Thus we see that none but the Supreme Being can esteem us according to our proper merits,
since all others must judge of us from our outward actions; which can never give them a just estimate of us, since there are many perfections of a man which are not capable of appearing in actions ; many which, allowing no natural incapacity of showing themselves, want an opportunity of doing it; or, should they all meet with an opportunity of appearing by actions, yet those actions may be misinterpreted, and applied to wrong principles; or though they plainly discovered the principles from whence they proceeded, they could never show the degree, strength, and perfection of those principles.
And as the Supreme Being is the only proper judge of our perfections, so is he the only fit rewarder of them. This is a consideration that comes home to our interest, as the other adapts itself to our ambition. And what could the most aspiring, or the most selfish man desire more, were he to form the notion of a Being to whom he would recommend himself, than such a knowledge as can discover the least appearance of perfection in him, and such a goodness as will proportion a reward unto it.
Let the ambitious man therefore turn all his desire of fame this way; and that he may propose to himself a fame worthy of his ambition, let him consider, that if he employs his abilities to the best advantage, the time will come, when the Supreme Governor of the world, the Great Judge of mankind, who sees every degree of perfection in others, and possesses all possible perfection in himself, shall proclaim his worth before men and angels, and pronounce to him in the presence of the whole creation that best and most significant of applauses, “ Well “ done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou “ into thy Master's joy."
No. CCLVIII. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26.
Divide et impera.
Divide and rule. PLEASURE and recreation of one kind or other are absolutely necessary to relieve our minds and bodies from too constant attention and labour: where therefore public diversions are tolerated, it behoves persons of distinction, with their power and example, to preside over them in such a manner as to check any thing that tends to the corruption of manners, or which is too mean or trivial for the entertainment of reasonable creatures. As to the diversions of this kind in this town, we owe them to the arts of poetry and music; my own private opinion, with relation to such recreations, I have heretofore given with all the frankness imaginable ; what concerns those arts at present the reader shall have from my correspondents. The first of the letters with which I acquit myself for this day, is written by one who proposes to improve our entertainments of dramatic poetry, and the other comes from three persons, who, as soon as named, will be thought capable of advancing the present state of music.
"I AM considerably obliged to you for your speedy publication of my last in your's of the 18th 'instant, and am in no small hopes of being settled in the post of comptroller of the cries. Of all the objections I have hearkened after in public coffee• houses, there is but one that seems to carry any • weight with it, viz. That such a post would come • too near the nature of a monopoly. Now, Sir, be
cause I would have all sorts of people made easy, • and being willing to have more strings than one to my bow; in case that of comptroller should fail me,
. I have since formed another project, which being ' grounded on the dividing of a present monopoly, I " hope will give the public an equivalent to their full o content. You know, Sir, it is allowed that the bu«siness of the stage is, as the Latin has it, jucunda CE idonea dicere vitæ. Now there being but one • dramatic theatre licensed for the delight and profit 6 of this extensive metropolis, I do humbly propose, < for the convenience of such of its inhabitants as are
too distant from Covent Garden, that another Thea• tre of Ease may be erected in some spacious part
of the city; and that the direction thereof may be I made a franchise in fee to me, and my heirs for ( ever. And that the town may have no jealousy of
my ever coming to an union with the set of actors (now in being, I do farther propose to constitute for my deputy my near kinsman and adventurer, Kit
Crotchet, whose long experience and improvements o in those affairs need no recommendation. It was
obvious to every spectator what a quite different foot the stage was upon during his government; and had he not been bolted out of his trap-doors, his garrison might have held out for ever, he having by long pains and perseverance arrived at the art of making his army fight without pay or prorisions. " I must confess it with a melancholy amazement, I see so wonderful a genius laid aside, and the late slaves of the stage now become its masters, dunces i that will be sure to suppress all theatrical entertainoments and activities that they are not able themselves to shine in !
• Every man that goes to a play is not obliged to have either wit or understanding; and I insist upon it, that all who go there should see something " which inay improve them in a way of which they 6 are capable. In short, Sir, I would have some"thing done as well as said on the stage. A man 'may have an active body, though he has not a
* quick conception ; for the imitation therefore of • such as are, as I may so speak, corporeal wits or
nimble fellows, I would fain ask any of the present "mismanagers, why should not rope-dancers, vaulters, tumblers, ladder-walkers, and posture masters appear again on our stage? After such a representation, a five bar gate would be leaped with a better grace next time any of the audience went a hunting. • Sir, these things cry aloud for reformation, and fall
properly under the province of Spectator General ; but how indeed should it be otherwise, while fel
lows, that for twenty years together were never paid but as their master was in the humour, now pre
sume to pay others more than ever they had in their • lives; and in contempt of the practice of persons of "condition, have the insolence to owe no tradesman a • farthing at the end of the week. Sir, all I propose
is the public good; for no one can imagine I shall ever get a private shilling by it: therefore I hope you will recommend this matter in one of your
this "week's papers, and desire when my house opens you
will accept the liberty of it for the trouble you have received from, SIR,
Your humble servant
"RALPH CROTCHET.' • P.S. I have assurances that the trunk-maker will declare for us.'
"WE whose names are subscribed, think you • the properest person to signify what we have to • offer the town in behalf of ourselves, and the art which we profess, music. We conceive hopes of
your favour from the speculations on the mistakes • which the town run into with regard to their plea
sure of this kind; and believing your method of judging is, that you consider music only valuable, as it is agreeable tog. and heightens the purpose of